I have to admit that I never understood the urge to co-author a book. Oh, sure, if Neil Gaiman asked me to co-author a book with him, I would say, “Yes,” but only because it’s Neil Gaiman and I would be able to meet my favorite author and hopefully, his incredibly talented and gorgeous wife.
But I digress. The thing is, I find writing to be such a solitary activity. You are completely inside of your own head, your own soul. You have to dig into recesses in the deep, dark places and access that stuff that you don’t share with anyone. Ever. Then, you wrap that shit up into your character’s personality flaws or past experiences, get rid of the *really* squirrelly stuff in the editing process and let it go.
Co-authoring means you have to allow someone else access to all of that crap. Someone else gets to see the ugly stuff. Someone else gets to see what goes on behind the curtains. Someone else gets to see the pure, unvarnished you, whether it shows you in a good light, a bad light, or a terribly embarrassing light. It has got to be terrifying.
The thing is that even with having a blog where I talk about my thoughts and feelings and insecurities doesn’t mean that I am opening my ENTIRE self up to the world. I still edit these posts. I still sometimes go back and say, “Oh, man. That is too much. Not that. Nope.” Yes, there are my real thoughts… these are my real feelings. But they’re not the low down, raw and bare thoughts that come out in private journals in the deep, dark recesses of the night.
So what happens when you decide you are not only going to co-write a book with a friend, but that it is going to be about such a deeply personal subject that the entire thing will consist of laying bare these raw emotions, dissecting them, and putting them back together with another person? Terror, that’s what. Trust plays a big part in it… but trusting someone to love you unconditionally and then giving them everything you have ever done wrong, or thought in the middle of the night, or worried about, or wished for, or desired, or hated, or cried about takes a huge leap of faith in the other person. And in yourself.
But (and I do have a point and it is an important one to remember, at least for me) writers have to write about the hard stuff, even if it hurts. And when an idea comes and the idea is good, a writer is being a coward or an asshole if she ignores the idea. If the idea is there, begging for attention, then it is because that idea needs to be written. So, I have recently been half of a two person team that came up with an amazing idea, or series of ideas for at least another two books. And the idea of sharing all of that inner shit with someone is dead terrifying. But the idea of being untrue to myself as a writer and refusing the idea altogether is untenable.
Guess I am going to be a co-author. 🙂